Thought for the Day – 22 April – The Agony of Jesus

Thought for the Day – 22 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Agony of Jesus

“While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, His divine mind witnessed, not only the torments of His approaching Passion and Death but also, the hatred of His enemies, both then and in later times, the ingratitude of His Apostles and the countless sins with which men would repay His infinite goodness, throughout the ages.
He realised, that He would be a sign of contradiction for many.
Some would hate Him, others would desecrate His Precious Blood and His Immaculate Body.
Many, forgetful of the Redemption, would commit sin after sin, while others would receive special graces and would return only coldness and indifference in exchange for such great love.
Faced with this gloomy scene, Jesus was utterly dejected and was overcome by a mysterious rending agony, which caused Him to perspire blood.
“He began to feel dread and to be exceedingly troubled” (Mk 14:33).
“And falling into an agony, he prayed the more earnestly. And his sweat became as drops of blood running down upon the ground” (lk 22:43-44).
At that moment, Jesus could see each one of us! and all our wretchedness, coldness and sinfulness.
If our hearts are not made of stone, let us weep for our faults and firmly resolve to improve.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

agony in the garden - bacci 22 april 2020


Thought for the Day – 17 April – Peter Denies Jesus

Thought for the Day – 17 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Peter Denies Jesus

“Peter was by nature impetuous and generous.
He loved Jesus sincerely.
Even after the other Apostles had run away when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane (Cf Mt 26:56), he followed Him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the High Priest’s house.
“Peter was following at a distance” (Lk 22:54).
In his generous enthusiasm, however, he depended too much on himself.
During the last supper, Jesus had foretold to His Apostles, His approaching passion and death and their desertion.
Immediately, Peter had solemnly declared that, even if all the others would scandalised on the night of the passion, he would never be scandalised.
He would, he said, be ready to go with Jesus to prison and to death (Cf Mt 24:33, Lk 22:33).
But Jesus, tried to put him on his guard against presumption. “I tell thee, Peter, a cock will not crow this day, until thou hast denied three times, that thou knowest me” (Cf Lk 22:34).
In spite of this prophecy, the impetuous Apostle went as far as the courtyard of the High Priest.
While the divine Redeemer was brought in chains before the judgement seat of the High Priest, where He was calumniated, struck and condemned to death, Peter was asked if he was a follower of the Galilean.
Three times, He denied his Master with oaths and protests.
Unfortunately, this is what happens to anyone who trusts presumptuously in his own strength.
This is what happens when we forget that we can do nothing, as St Paul points out, without the help and the grace of God.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor 3:5).
Anyone is courting disaster if he foolishly places all his confidence in himself and neglects to seek the help of God, when he is danger.
He is certain to fall!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

three times he denied his master - bacci 17 april 2020


One Minute Reflection – 9 April – ‘… Walk in Him …’

One Minute Reflection – 9 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now but afterward, you will understand.”   Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.”   Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” … John 12:7-8

john 13 8 if i do not wash you you have no part in me - maundy thursday holy 9 april 2020

REFLECTION – “Jesus, fully aware that the Father had put everything into His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God, rose from supper.”   That which had not been in Jesus’s hands before is put into His hands by the Father – not just some things and not others but everything.

David had said:  “The Lord says to my lord:  Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool” (Ps 109[110]:1).   The enemies of Jesus shared out, as it were, that ‘all’ which He knew His Father was giving Him. (…)   On account of those who were far away from God, He was separated from God who, by nature, did not wish to leave the Father.   He left God, so that all who have been separated from God, should return to God with Him, in His hands, according to His eternal design. (…)

So what was Jesus doing in washing the feet of His disciples?   By washing them and wiping them with the towel around His waist wasn’t Jesus making their feet beautiful at the moment when they were going to have to proclaim the good news?   It was then, in my opinion, that the prophetic word was fulfilled:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim good news!” (Is 52:7; Rm 10:15).   But if, by washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus makes them beautiful, how can we express the genuine beauty in those whom He immerses fully “in the Holy Spirit and in fire” (Mt 3:11)?   The feet of the apostles were made beautiful so that (…) they might set out along the holy road and walk in Him who said:  “I am the Way” (Jn 14:6).   For whoever has had his feet washed by Jesus and he alone, follows that living way that leads to the Father.   That way has no room for dirty feet! (…)   In order to follow this living, spiritual way (Heb 10:20) (…) they had to have their feet washed by Jesus who set aside His garments (…) so as to take upon His own body, the dirtiness of their feet with the towel which was His only garment, for “he bears our infirmities” (Is 53:4). … Origen (c 185-253) Father of Church, Priest, Theologian – Commentary on St John’s Gospel

the feet of the apostles were made beautiful -origen 9 april 2020

PRAYER – Love of You, with our whole heart, Lord God, is holiness. Increase then Your gifts of divine grace in us, so that, as in Your Son’s Death, You made us hope for what we believe, You may likewise, in His Resurrection, make us come to You, our final end. Listen we beg, to the prayers of Your holy ones and may the Blessed Mother walk along with us and keep our hand, ever in hers.   Through Jesus Himself, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God with You, forever and ever, amen.

mother of sorrows pray for us 16 nov 2019


Thought for the Day – 9 April – The Betrayal of Judas

Thought for the Day – 9 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Betrayal of Judas

“Ingratitude is a very cruel thing.
It imprints a deep wound on the human heart and the heart of Jesus, was infinitely more sensitive than ours.
He had raised Judas to the high rank of the Apostolate;  He had made him one of His closest friends and had entrusted him with the secrets of His infinite love.
Now Judas betrays Him for the wretched sum of thirty pieces of silver.
Worse is to follow, however.
While Jesus is praying and perspiring blood at the thought of the ingratitude of men and of the nearness of His passion and death, the garden of Gethsemane becomes suddenly aglow with torches and reverberates with the shouting of the hired ruffians, whom Judas has brought with him to arrest Jesus.
The treacherous Apostle comes forward.
He embraces our divine Redeemer, hails Him as his Master and greets Him with a sacrilegious kiss upon the cheek.
Jesus neither repulses nor rebukes him but, with a gesture of infinite mercy, He addresses him as a friend.
“Friend,” He says, “for what purpose hast thou come?” (Mt 26:50).
“Dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:28).
If only Judas could have heeded this last appeal and begged for forgiveness at Jesus’ feet with tears of repentance!
Jesus would certainly have taken him to His heart and returned his kiss with a kiss of pardon and divine friendship.
Perhaps, we have also stood at times on the brink of sin and have been aware of a higher appeal to go back!
But, have we heeded it?
If ever we are in danger again, let us listen to this quiet voice which speaks to our conscience.
Let us fall on our knees before Jesus and earnestly implore Him: “Be not silent, Lord, be not far from me!” (Ps 34:22).
Let us ask Him to have pity on our weakness and to come to our assistance.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

the betrayal of judas - bacci 9 april 2020 maundy thursday holy


Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – Love, or the Name of God

Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Love, or the Name of God

“Once for all, then,
a short precept is given you –
Love and do what you will,
whether you hold your peace,
through love, hold your peace;
whether you cry out,
through love cry out;
whether you correct,
through love correct;
whether you spare,
through love do you spare.
Let the root of love be within,
of this root, can nothing spring
but what is good.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Great Western Father ad Doctor of the Church

Homily 7 on John

love and do what you will - st augustine -9 april 2020 maundy holy thursday

“He came from His royal throne,
the stern Conqueror of error
and the gentle Apostle of love.”

Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)

he-came-from-his-royal-throne-william-of-saint-thierry-16-dec-2019 and 9 april 2020 maundy holy thursday

“The masterpiece of Jesus Christ’s love for humanity is the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is within our reach.
We can all get close to Christ the guest and talk with Him
and perceive the warmth of His word.
The word! How it inflames the spirits!
How will the word of Christ inflame them!
We can all get to the altar when He immolates Himself and shouts at us:
Look how much I have loved and loved you!
And we can all sit at His table
and eat the bread
and drink the intoxicating wine of charity. “

Blessed Marcelo Spínola y Maestre, Cardinal-Priest (1835-1906)

he-immolates-himself-and-shouts-at-us-bl-marcelo-spinola-19jan2019.and-19-jan-2020jpg and maundy holy thursday 9 april 2020

“I love Him, even if it costs much,
I love Him, because, it is worth much,
I love Him, at all cost.”

Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce (1881-1947)

i-love-him-bl-maria-teresa-fasce-18-jan-2019-and-2020 and 9 april 2020 maundy holy thursday

“If men sincerely loved one another, not merely as brothers
but as much as they love themselves, what problems would be solved!
Who can say how many evils would be abated
and how many sorrows would be assuaged?
To transform the world, it would be enough
to put into practice the first great commandment of the Gospel,
which is the commandment of charity.
Admittedly, the world would not become an earthly paradise,
for any such Utopia is an impossibility.
But, it would become a dignified dwelling place of brothers,
loving and helping one another.
“Love is the fulfilment of the law,” St Paul very truly says (Rom 13:10).
“Have charity, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).

Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

if-men-sincerely-loved-one-another-bacci-11-feb-2020 and maundy thursday holy - quotes 9 april 2020


Maundy or Holy Thursday of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Seven Churches Visitation – 9 April

Maundy or Holy Thursday of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ 
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and The Seven Churches Visitation 

last supper 1600 - 1700s jesus eucharist mass maundy thursday

Maundy Thursday begins the sacred Triduum—the holiest days of the Church year.  The liturgy reflects the beauty of the Paschal mystery and the Passover Feast of Christ.   The Triduum is a time that we walk in Jesus’ footsteps for His final hours on earth.   Personal devotions always spring up to unite the faithful’s domestic church with the liturgy of the Church but even more so during the holiest week of the year and in particular in this year of Covid19 when we are all locked down in our homes and are unable to accompany our Lord on His journey to the Cross.

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Gospel is John 13:1-15, Christ washing the feet of the Apostles.   The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation: Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos.   “I give you a new commandment – Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).   At the Mass the priest washes feet of several people in imitation of Christ.maundy thursdayHoly-Thursday-For-I-Have-Set-You-An-Example-That-You-Also-Should-Do-As-I-Have-Done-To-You

The Seven Churches Visitation

seven churches

In metropolitan areas where there are more Catholic churches, there is the popular tradition of visiting the altar of repose in seven local churches.   This custom began in Rome (often credited to St Philip Neri) with visiting the seven major basilicas of the city on Holy Thursday: St Peter’s in the Vatican, St Paul’s outside the Walls, St John Lateran, St Mary Major, St Sebastian’s, St Lawrence Outside the Walls and Holy Cross in Jerusalem.   See them all below.

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This Holy Thursday pilgrimage reflects the seven stops or “stations” during the night of Jesus’ arrest:

Jesus in the Garden in Gethsemane where He was arrested (Luke 22:39-46)
Jesus taken before Annas (John 18:19-22)
Jesus bound and taken before Caiaphas, the High Priest (Matthew 26:63-65)
Jesus taken before Pilate, the Roman governor (John 18:35-37)
Jesus goes before Herod (Luke 23:8-9, 11)
Jesus returns to Pilate (Matthew 27:22-26)
Jesus is scourged, crowned with thorns and led to His crucifixion (John 19:1-16)

The previous book of indulgences, the Raccolta, included this practice.   The suggested prayers were an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, five times before the Altar of Repost of the Blessed Sacrament and then some private adoration and personal prayer (reflection on the scripture passages related to the “station”) before moving on to the next church.

The final church stop can also include prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions and a longer time of adoration with Jesus in the altar of repose.   In some regions the number of churches expanded to 14 to include the entire Stations of the Cross.  Some other traditions of prayers, with the Seven Churches, is praying along with the Seven Last Words of Christ.   This year there will be many online resources and we can pray the Liturgy together in our home,s as well as, make the Seven Churches pilgrimage by reading each Gospel reading aloud and praying the prayers suggested.

May we all accompany Our Lord tonight and not leave Him alone!